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Demis Hassabis (left) and John Jumper (right) from DeepMind developed AlphaFold, an AI that can predict the structure of proteins. Credit: Breakthrough Prize
The researchers behind the AlphaFold artificial-intelligence (AI) system have won one of this year’s US$3-million Breakthrough prizes — the most lucrative awards in science. Demis Hassabis and John Jumper, both at DeepMind in London, were recognized for creating the tool that has predicted the 3D structures of almost every known protein on the planet.
“Few discoveries so dramatically alter a field, so rapidly,” says Mohammed AlQuraishi, a computational biologist at Columbia University in New York City. “It’s really changed the practice of structural biology, both computational and experimental.”
The award was one of five Breakthrough prizes — awarded for achievements in life sciences, physics and mathematics — announced on 22 September.